who silenced Gorkhaland?

Was it Mamata Banerjee or local politicians who silenced Gorkhaland?

Manata Banerjee in a recent interview claimed that her government handled the statehood demand of Gorkhaland better than how the central government dealt with the Telangana situation, which saw massive protests and violence in Andhra Pradesh. Mamata Banerjee also claims, it is due to her rough and tough dealing with the situation in Darjeeling that it did not witness violence in the hills. Can one give credit to her for non-violence in Darjeeling? Speaking to the residents of Darjeeling, the picture is very different.

who silenced Gorkhaland?
who silenced Gorkhaland?

Ever since, the demand of Gorkhaland took shape since 2007 under the guidance of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the supporters have always remained aloof from any kind of violence, even though their demands have not been taken seriously by neither the central nor the state government. ”The fact that the violence was not used as a tool in the recent Gorkhaland agitation is not credited to Mamata or her initiative to keep peace. Rather it goes to the people and leaders who chose to follow the democratic processes to rightfully claim their rights,” said Sankalp Lama, who was born and brought up in Darjeeling.

The statehood demand of Gorkhaland is the oldest in the country, dating back to 1907, still, the demands have not been justified by those who matter. In a span of over 100 years, the demand has been brought up a number of times, only to be silenced by the powerful people and this time being Mamata Banerjee, who claims to have managed to soothe down the sentiment in the hills regarding their statehood demand.

Sankalp said, ”Speaking of soothing down the sentiments, I must say that the entire context is wrong. Sentiments such as Gorkhaland cannot be soothed down! It is unquenchable thirst only to end when Gorkhaland begins.” It is no rocket science for people of Darjeeling to understand the fact that Mamata and her WB government does not want to divide Bengal, as the formation of Gorkhaland would only mean a huge loss to the government of Bengal.

As a result of which, Mamata Banerjee has adopted various methods to make sure that the aspirations of the people of Darjeeling are not met. She introduced CRPF personnel as well, which was not justified when the situation in the hills was peaceful. In her undemocratic ways, she created fear amongst the public, arresting Gorkhaland supporters. The ruthless leader also used political tool to shut down local cable networks and monitor local newspapers and even Internet blogs, justifying her dictatorship attitude.

GJM activists protest
GJM activists protest for Gorkhaland

During such times of fear, the leaders of the GJM were also helpless. They could not do anything against such arrests as well, apart from showering promises to the people of Darjeeling in their speeches. An insider of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha said that top politicians were not gutsy enough to fight for the arrested people when they were jailed outside Darjeeling. On the contrary, with threats of criminal records against top politicians in Darjeeling, Mamata Banerjee played her cards well, eventually silencing the movement.

So, one can definitely put the blame across to our politicians in the hills for their approach as well. They lacked serious dedication. The people in the hills showed full faith in their politicians attending rallies, shouting their heart out, hoping to achieve Gorkhaland. A disappointed resident and a teacher in Darjeeling is frustrated with the way the situation has been dealt by the local politicians for their selfish interest.

He said, ”After twenty years or so some smart leader will again raise the voice for Gorkhaland and probably then our children will have to go through the same awful grind that we are going through.” First, it was Subhash Ghissingh who played with the sentiments of the people in the hills and signed Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. Now, the situation is no different with the current political leaders, who have accepted Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) as a stop gap arrangement.

But, nobody is happy with GTA in Darjeeling. Such lack of seriousness has disappointed Gorkhas all over the world. Hence, this also led to the birth of a apolitical group, Jan Awaaz in Delhi, who are against GTA and supports the formation of Gorkhaland, in an honest manner. Supreet Raj, founding member said, ”The GTA is a hindrance to the demand of Gorkhaland. It does not meet the aspirations of the people in Darjeeling as well. With GTA in place in Darjeeling, it would be difficult for its representatives to voice for Gorkhaland sitting in GTA’s chair.”

With the acceptance of GTA by the ruling party in Darjeeling, it is clearly understood that the issue of Gorkhaland has once again been sold. This can be further explained with the friendly nature existing between Trinamool Congress and GJM, where the latter can be seen on TMC’s platform on numerous occasions. Ironically, these were the parties who were at loggerheads with one another when talks of Gorkhaland was at its peak.

By Ashim Sunam

Source: merinews

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